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The Memoirs of Cairo

Student: Sarah Gebril
Type of work: Branding, visual identity
Jochen Braun
Year: 2014

The Memoirs of ______ is a nostalgia traveling exhibition that takes place in different cities around the world; therefore, the content of the exhibition differs from one city to another. The exhibition is based on the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. The aim is to revive for the audience the bittersweet personal recollections of the past through nostalgia. The exhibition consists of seven rooms: Watch, Listen, Smell, Touch, Taste, Workshop & Exhibition. The whole exhibition is based on art installations.

Although, Nostalgia does have its painful side, yet, as proven by many researches its positive side greatly prevails the painful one. Most of the people are ignorant about the benefits of nostalgia. We’ve all grown-up in different cities and times, each took part in shaping who we are today. However, living in a fast paced society stops people from remembering their growing up years and the memories that could have a positive effect on their future lives. Therefore, the solution was to create a concept for a platform where people experience nostalgia & have the opportunity to encapsulate their memories and recollections from the past.


The Memoirs of ______ is a traveling exhibition that takes place in different cities around the world; therefore, the content of the exhibition differs from one city to another. The exhibition is based on the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. It revives the bittersweet personal recollections of the past through nostalgia. This year, Cairo was chosen to host this exhibition. The exhibition consists of seven rooms

In the first room, you will experience video installation; which is a contemporary art form that combines video technology with installation art, making use of all aspects of the surrounding environment to affect the audience. In The Memoirs of Cairo, you will get to remember the remarkable events and objects that were part of your childhood and teenage years through the video installation.

Moving to the second room, you will experience sound installation. It is a three dimensional space with which the different sound objects are being organized are not exclusively internal to the work, but also external. You will enter this room with a black cloth covering your eye. The aim is to help you encapsulate your memories through only your hearing sense, without any visual interference.

In the third room, you will experience the sense of smell. You will be exposed to a mixture of fragrant essential oils and aroma compounds (ex. chlorine), natural ingredients and scented objects (ex. old books). It will be presented in a form of installation as well. The sense of smell is considered the strongest sense that helps recall our memories.

Different objects from your childhood and teenage years will be organized in the 4th room to create an interaction between you and the textures displayed in the room.

The fifth room is based on the sense of taste. The team responsible for this room made sure that all the products are clean. You will get to experience different flavors, herbs, samples of food & drinks that were part of your childhood.

Words & Expressions

You get to write everything you remembered from your past using the 5 senses. The first thing to do when visualizing something, is to see it as clear as we can. Try to write down what sounds were dominant or had an impact on those memories. Was it sweet, salty, sour, bitter or refreshing? Really taste it. Was there any significant oder, fragrance, scent? Do you remember any texture you touched that had an impact on those memories. You also write down the feelings you had in those rooms. 

It is basically the outcome of the whole experience. It’s where you get to visualize your memories and feelings through an art medium. You will have your very personal space with all the materials you will need. You will also be asked to express those memories in words.

After the workshop, the work of the participants will be exhibited in the Exhibition room. The Exhibition room is opened to everyone who would like to take a look at the Memoirs of Cairo.



Visual Concept I

It is inspired by the characteristics of nostalgia in visualising the corporate identity. 

Cold: Nostalgia is provoked in chilly atmospheres.
Warm: Nostalgia makes one feel literally warmer. 

In the exhibition, the room temperature will be low in order to stimulate the participants’ memories. Therefore, as the participants move from one room to another feeling nostalgic they get to feel warmer. I tried to visualize these two characteristics through a series of posters. The colors symbolize the participants’ state in each room. However, I decided to only focus on the first five rooms where the memories are mainly being provoked.



Visual Concept II

: Memories tend to be unclear and washed out before experiencing nostalgia.
Vivid: Nostalgia makes memories more vivid and clear.

Based on visualizing how memories are transformed from being vague to being vivid when experiencing nostalgia through series of images and trials; as one moves from one image to another, the image gets clearer and move vivid. Leading to many ideas and trials.


Final technique

The final trial was achieved through a scanning technique. The distoration of text reflects how our memories are usually distorted and unclear, however; nostalgia makes those memories vivid and clearer.




Postcards – Photos used are taken by Amr Alfiqy.


The Exhibition's application is more of a network where people can take photos, edit them using the corporate identitty's colors and elements and upload them.

Photos used in the app & website were taken by Seif El Din Khaled.


The Exhibition – Fragments of the Past

The Participants create digital collages in the Workshop Room where they get to visualize the memories stimulated in the other 5 rooms (Watch, Listen, Taste, Smell, Touch rooms). The collages shown below are the outcome of my visualization for few of my memories.